Miller achieving professional basketball dreams overseas – The Owensboro Times - Techy Hunters

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Miller achieving professional basketball dreams overseas – The Owensboro Times

After grinding day in and day out, former Owensboro Red Devil Justin Miller is making the most of his first professional basketball contract with Brumas de Jinotega in the LSB League in Nicaragua.

Miller was a key part of the Owensboro boys basketball team during his high school career, helping lead the Red Devils to a state championship in 2015 while also finishing seventh all-time in scoring.

Miller initially committed to play with Kentucky Wesleyan, but decommitted right before the season started to play at a prep school in hopes of reaching Division I basketball.

Following prep school, Miller was successful and proceeded to play three years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

He then made his way to the University of Detroit for his final collegiate basketball season in 2019. Miller was the team’s second-leading scorer that season averaging 10.3 ppg while also grabbing 5.3 rpg.

This marks the beginning of the former Red Devil’s professional career, having waited a little over a year and a half for a call.

However, Miller was ok with waiting. That was in large part because he had his first daughter and was able to see the first year of her life—so for that, he is extremely thankful.

But with 550 days having passed before his agent and former Owensboro High School coach Michael Stinnett said he had a contract for him, he was ready.

“This is a great start for Justin,” said Free Agency Director of Scouting Michael Stinnett. “The LSB is really growing as a league and the competition is very good. His coach will be a former National team coach and really really likes Justin. Justin can score the ball at a high level and uses his body well to rebound. Also he is a high IQ player and I really like his passing ability. Plus, him being from Owensboro and playing for my good friend in high school coach Rod Drake really makes this special for me. David Gonzalez (FIBA Agent) and myself feel Justin is ready to get his career started in a good fashion.”

Miller said this opportunity had been long overdue, having worked multiple jobs over the course of waiting for a chance to play while continuing to train endlessly waiting on a call.

“From April of last year until now, I’ve dropped close to 40 pounds just trying to be ready for my call whenever I got it,” Miller said. “I’ve always had a high belief in myself that it was going to happen. I just had to stay persistent in what I wanted to do and just stay confident in myself and just ultimately enjoy my time with family and appreciate the little things.”

Miller intends to play with a chip on his shoulder for Brumas de Jinotega and a winning mentality every time he steps on the floor, hoping to lead by example.

“I feel like I’m a very versatile guy,” Miller said. “I can step out and knock down a three, I can go down there and guard seven-footers, I can rebound the basketball. I feel like I bring toughness to the team and just a winning mindset.”

Now Miller is thriving, ranking second in the league in rebounds at 13.0 rpg, while also averaging 14.0 ppg to help Brumas de Jinotega to the best record in the league. 

While also looking to have success on the court, Miller also wants to get acclimated with the country and its people, even learning Spanish to become more familiar with the citizens of Nicaragua.

“Just trying to soak in the culture and trying to appreciate the moment,” Miller said. “I want to be as present as I can because you never know how long you’ll be there… I wanna be more approachable to the people out here and show my respect to the country.”

It hadn’t hit Miller days after his signing that he had achieved his dream, but he admitted that he’s more thankful for the journey and hopes that it inspires people.

“It’s been such a long drought out process, always having to prove myself to people my whole career whether that was at an AAU tournament, or the high school state tournament or at the Division I level,” Miller said. “My flowers if you will have always kind of came late. That’s fine with me, it just makes me appreciate the process more. I’m thankful for the process more than the actual receiving of my dreams. I just hope that somebody sees my process and is motivated by it, because there’s been a lot of adversity.”

One person who always gave him his flowers was his father, who passed away last April because of COVID-19.

With his father on his mind and his dream coming true, Miller feels that it’s imperative to dedicate his first professional season to the man who always believed he had the world at his fingertips.

“We used to be on the phone and he would always tell me that he was proud of me and that if I didn’t play basketball that he would still love me and be proud of me,” Miller said. “It’s really a big deal for me to accomplish this goal because he always said that I was going to do anything I wanted to do if I put my mind to it. So I feel like I’m obligated to give him this first season and just give him all the honor for it.”


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